Thursday, February 10, 2011

Homemade Fabric Softener Sheets

One of my very first posts was for homemade laundry soap. I was so excited to try making my own soap and seeing how it would work.
Well, I’m halfway through the 5-gallon bucket of Laundry detergent and I must say I have loved using it. It has lasted forever, was cheap to make and cleans well. What more can you ask? I still use prewash spray occasional or sometimes add a scoop of OxyClean but I have been very pleased with the homemade soap. I also posted the recipe for powdered laundry soap.

Several people I know are making this and using it and I was interested to see what they thought about it. The only negative comments I heard were that someone said it seemed like a lot of work to make it (she obviously had not tried it) and someone else said they didn’t have a place to store a 5 gallon bucket where their kids could not get into it and they were afraid of one of their children falling into the bucket. That is a valid concern. Because so many people I have talked to were interested in doing it, I wanted to post a link to the post where I originally posted it but I can’t make it go directly to that post so I decided it is just easier to repost the recipes again.

I’m also posting a recipe for homemade fabric softener sheets. I don’t use fabric softener all the time but it’s great to be able to make my own for when I do.

Just a couple of things I want to mention before I put the recipes here. First, Fels Naptha is an awesome cleaning product. It’s cheap, easy to store and very versatile. If you store a bar or two along with borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (this is different than the Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent – Make sure you get the Washing Soda), you have your long term laundry products stored for more than a year or two depending on the size of your family. Pretty inexpensive storage compared with the number of containers of laundry detergent you’d need to store for a year. I’ll be posting some other uses for these cleaning products.

Also, someone mentioned to me that they had a hard time finding the Fels Naptha. If that happens to be the case with you, you can substitute a bar of ivory hand soap instead. I think that’s awesome too.

I am excited to make the powdered laundry soap next and give it a try to see how it works. I’ll be sure to let you know. Here is the scoop on the homemade fabric softener.

Homemade Fabric Softener Sheets:
3- 4 cups water
1 cup vinegar
1 cup of hair conditioner (the cheap kind is fine)
An old fabric softener bottle or a big clear plastic juice bottle to mix ingredients in
A plastic container – a square Tupperware or an empty baby wipes container would be ideal – anything that has a lid
Combine all ingredients in your large bottle and shake well to combine. Use old wash cloths, (if they are badly frayed, trim and hem them) or cut and hem an old towel. Cut the towel or wash clothes or rags to fit into the square plastic container. Layer 3 to 5 clothes and pour enough softener to get the bottom rag wet. Seal the container. To use a fabric softener sheet, flip the stack of rags and get the wet one. Wring it out into the container. After your clothes are dry, put the used cloth back on top. Next time flip the stack to get another wet one. Just keep rotating through the rags and add more fabric softener to the container as needed. If you wish to double the recipe, a 15 oz. bottle of conditioner will work just fine. Experiment with different scents of conditioner till you find one you love. Vinegar is a natural rinsing agent and will not leave a smell but helps make your clothes soft. Also, you can almost always find VO5 or Suave conditioners for under $1.00 a bottle so this is very economical. Buying big gallon jugs of vinegar also makes it even cheaper. Give this one a try and see if you don’t feel like you are saving money. I like that!
Here are the reposts of the Liquid and Powdered Laundry Soap for anyone who missed it the first time around. Seriously, if you have not tried this yet, do it. It is one of the best things I've done!

Liquid Laundry Detergent
4 c. Hot water
1 Fels-naptha Soap Bar
1 c. Washing soda
½ c. borax
1 -5 gallon bucket with a lid
Grate bar of soap and add to a large sauce pan with the hot water. Stir continuously on low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill the 5 gallon bucket ½ full of warm water, add washing soda and borax and melted soap. Stir with a large spoon or stick (Paint stirring stick works great) until all powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover with lid and set overnight to thicken. You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil for each 2 gallons of liquid if you want. For a top loading washing machine use ¼ c. per load. You will get 180 loads out of 5 gallons For a front loading machine use 1/8 c. per load and you get 640 loads out of 5 gallons. This costs just pennies a load and cleans better than popular commercial brands.

Powdered Laundry Soap
2/3 bar grated Fels Naptha Soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup 20 mule team borax
Mix and store in airtight container or bag.
**light or small loads, use 1 tablespoon
**normal loads, use 2 tablespoons
**heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons
Tip: The above recipes will NOT make suds in your washer, so don’t be alarmed. Fels Naptha Soap is a pure soap and typically makes little or no suds, in the water. This makes it perfect for the new washers, as well as, traditional washers. You will also notice the need to either reduce your laundry softener, or in most cases you can even eliminate the use of softener completely.

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